In what sounds like the plot right out of a Hollywood movie, U.K. newspaper the Telegraph is reporting the remarkable story of a castaway who washed ashore on a remote atoll in the South Pacific after spending 16-months lost at sea. The man had managed to survive for weeks on end, while his 24-foot fiberglass boat drifted 8000 miles off course.
The details of the story remain a bit sketchy at this time, in part because the castaway speaks only Spanish. Apparently, he and a companion set out from Mexico for El Salvador in September of 2012. The journey should have been a relatively short one, but somehow they never arrived at their destination. The man says that his traveling companion died several months back, and he has been adrift alone ever since.
The small boat came ashore on Ebon Atoll last week, having crossed some 8000 miles of open ocean to get there. Ebon is part of the Marshall Islands, and only has a small population of about 1000 permanent residents. For such a small boat to survive so long at sea in the turbulent South Pacific is a miracle in and of itself.
Not surprisingly, the man arrived on Ebon in an extremely malnourished state. He is said to be in poor condition but improving now that he is receiving supervised care. Presumably he was able to catch and eat fish while at sea, but what he did for drinking water remains unknown.
It will be interesting to learn the details of this story as the man regains his strength and is able to share his tale. It seems likely that his boat lost power on its way to El Salvador and the Pacific currents carried him and his companion out to sea. The Pacific is a massive body of water, and if they wandered away from shipping lanes, there was little chance for a rescue. How the castaway managed to survive for so long is a testament to his spirit and determination.
Something tells me we’ll hear a lot more about this story in the future.